Review: ‘The End of the Night’

A rapidly paced skeletons-in-the-closet thriller, director Patxi Barco's debut is weighed down by a surfeit of characters. With most thesps little-known outside the Basque region, "Night" could be destined for B.O. darkness, apart from limited exposure in Spanish-speaking territories.

A rapidly paced skeletons-in-the-closet thriller, director Patxi Barco’s debut, “The End of the Night,” is weighed down by a surfeit of characters and enough plot for a two-hour movie. Though the central idea is fine, the plot satisfyingly complex and playing decent, pic would have benefited from fine-tuning of the script, whose inner mechanics are too obvious. With most thesps little-known outside the Basque region, “Night” could be destined for B.O. darkness, apart from limited exposure in Spanish-speaking territories.

Edgy, unemployed Javier (Asier Hormaza), who’s spent time in drug rehab, returns home after five years and meets Rakel (Itziar Ituno), an infograph designer on the local rag. Her husband was killed five years ago during a bungled robbery at a nearby hotel. Within minutes, Javier and Rakel are an item.

However, Rakel’s boss, Luismi (Joseba Apaolaza), also fancies her and, with unlikely insensitivity, sets her to work on an anniversary article about the robbery. Rakel’s investigations take her closer and closer to an unpleasant truth about her new b.f. as all around her, Javier included, accuse her of being obsessed by the past.

Running parallel to all this is a backstory, told through lengthy flashbacks, involving longhaired Ismael (Inaki Beraetxe) and girlfriend Zuri (Intxizu Bengoa) planning the robbery with someone called El Bicho. Pic shuttles unconvincingly back and forth between present and past.

Though there are plenty of OK moments, with many of them involving the strong Ituno or Beraetxe, the character of Javier is a weak central figure. Juan Zulaika’s score is underpinned by an attractive melody.

The End of the Night

Spain

Production

An Igeldo Komunikazioa production, in association with TVE, Canal Plus, ETB. (International sales: KWA, Madrid.) Produced by Angel Amigo. Directed by Patxi Barco. Screenplay, Daniel Castro Villanueva, Ismael Martinez Biurrun.

Crew

Camera (color), Gaizka Bourgeaud; editor, Guillermo S. Maldonado; music, Juan Zulaika; art director, Mamen Hernandez, Lierni Izagirre; sound (DTS stereo), Pablo Sanz. Reviewed at San Sebastian Film Festival (Open Zone), Sept. 21, 2003. Running time: 85 MIN.

With

Itziar Ituno, Asier Hormaza, Inaki Beraetxe, Joseba Apaolaza, Klara Badiola, Kandido Uranga, Intxizu Bengoa.
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